What is hypovolemia?

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Loss of fluids can cause blood pressure to plummet and the body to go into shockThe human body needs a steady volume of blood in order for all of the organs to work properly and for good health to be maintained. When there is a decrease in the volume of blood or in bodily fluids, then a condition called hypovolemia may result.

Hypovolemia occurs in stages. At first your nose and mouth may become dry and your urine output may be less frequent. Your heart rate may increase and certain blood vessels may constrict so that the body can maintain appropriate levels of blood flow to your major organs such as your heart, brain and kidneys. Your blood pressure may also drop.

If the Condition Continues You Might Experience Hypovolemic Shock

By the time one-fifth of your blood or fluid supply is gone, you will enter hypovolemic shock. Hypovolemic shock is a medical emergency. Symptoms of hypovolemic shock include:

  • Cold, clammy, or pale skin.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Quick heart rate.
  • Significant decrease in urine output.
  • Confusion.
  • Weakness.
  • Weak pulse.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Blood in the urine, stool, or vomit.
  • Chest pain.
  • Abdominal pain or swelling.

Treatment of hypovolemic shock could include:

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • Blood transfusions.
  • Medications to regulate your blood pressure and heart rate.

Treatment should also include identifying and stopping the reason for blood or bodily fluid loss.

Hypovolemia Can Occur Because of a Medical Error

In some cases, doctors, nurses, or hospitals may be responsible for a patient’s hypovolemia. Specifically, a medical professional or facility may be liable for damages if the hypovolemia or hypovolemic shock occurred because:

  • The professional’s or facility’s failure to exercise reasonable care for a patient to whom they owed a duty of care;
  • The lack of reasonable care caused the patient’s injuries; and
  • The person seeking damages has a legal right to do so.

A medical facility or medical professionals could be liable, for example, if they made a surgical error that resulted in hypovolemia or if they failed to recognize the symptoms of hypovolemia.

Hypovolemia is a common—and potentially deadly—type of shock. Accordingly, we encourage you to share this article on Facebook or Twitter to let others know of the risk, and we invite you to start a live chat with us now if you have suffered hypovolemia due to medical negligence.